Sunday, May 26, 2024
No menu items!

Social Media a Risk for 2024 SA’s General Elections?

Must Read
Vusi Melane
Vusi Melane
Staff Writer

Has the Association of African Election Authorities (AAEA) reached a significant milestone in harnessing the benefits of digital and social media while mitigating potential harms, supported by the Electoral Commission of South Africa, through the launch of the groundbreaking initiative? Principles and Guidelines for the Use of Digital and Social Media in Elections in Africa.

This remains to be seen. Social media poses a potential risk for South Africa’s 2024 elections due to its capacity to spread misinformation and influence public opinion. However, effective regulation and media literacy initiatives can mitigate these risks and promote a more informed electorate.

The document urges African Election Management Bodies (EMBs) to create a robust plan for responsible social media usage during elections. To highlight the vital roles governments and regulatory bodies can play in protecting electoral integrity across Africa.

The guidelines advocate for African member states and regulatory authorities to abstain from imposing measures that could disrupt access to the internet, digital platforms, and social media. Additionally, they urge social media operators to treat political parties and candidates fairly. To ensure that their online communication, as well as that of their supporters, upholds electoral integrity and respects human rights.

During the February document launch in Johannesburg, Reverend Carlos Simao Matsinhe, AAEA President and Chairperson of the Mozambique National Election Commission, highlighted the guidelines’ importance in protecting election integrity. He stressed the need to address disinformation promptly. To prevent undermining election credibility, urging Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) to distribute the guidelines in their countries.

South Africa, supported by grant funding from the African Renaissance and International Cooperation Fund, played a crucial role in formulating the guidelines. In his keynote address, South Africa’s Deputy President, Paul Mashatile, affirmed the nation’s commitment to disseminating these principles and guidelines.

“The reality is that the political environment during elections is tense and volatile, and we should use social media with responsibility to ensure that the content we share is credible and accurate. I urge political parties that participate in robust debate on social media to uphold ethical standards and refrain from going too far in being unjust, deceptive, or hateful,” said Deputy President Mashatile.

Chairperson of South Africa’s Electoral Commission, Mosotho Moepya has urged all stakeholders to actively participate in spreading and implementing the guidelines. “This is essential not only for boosting voter confidence and trust in the electoral procedures but also for fostering the growth of democratic principles.” he said

Ambassador William Awinador-Kanyirige, representing the African Union Commission (AUC), echoed similar sentiments. He emphasized that adopting the guidelines would be crucial in transforming and managing elections across Africa, speaking on behalf of the Commissioner of Political Affairs, Peace, and Security. “The existence of these principles and guidelines will go a long way in inspiring other countries to follow the same steps thus promoting peaceful elections.” he said

South Africa’s General elections are on the 29th of May 2024.

- Advertisement -

Regular Vigilance Crucial for Spotting Software Breaches

Chief Technology Officer for Obsidian Systems, Karl Fischer, says "Constant vigilance is essential to identifying software security breaches." Fischer recounts,...
Latest News
- Advertisement -

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -